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Harley-Davidson stops electric motorcycle production due to charging problem

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Deliveries are halted, too, but the company says the bike is still safe to ride

Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

Harley-Davidson has temporarily stopped making and shipping its first electric motorcycle, LiveWire, due to a problem with the bike’s charging equipment, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The company told the Journal that LiveWire bikes are still safe to ride, but it’s asking the first few customers to only charge the $30,000 electric motorcycle at dealerships, indicating that there may be a problem with plugging them into lower-voltage outlets, such as the ones found in their homes. LiveWire motorcycles only just started shipping in September.

The LiveWire was first introduced as a concept motorcycle back in 2014. The project then disappeared from the spotlight for a few years before Harley-Davidson reintroduced the LiveWire in production-ready form in November 2018.

Harley-Davidson has positioned the LiveWire as a key piece of the company’s wider initiative to appeal to new, younger riders, as it attempts to turn around a flagging post-recession business. That said, the bike is priced at the very high end, a good $10,000 above the most expensive electric motorcycles currently on the market.

Reached for comment, the publicly traded motorcycle manufacturer only issued an opaque statement about the charging issue:

As we lead in the electrification of motorcycles, we have delivered our first LiveWire motorcycles to authorized LiveWire dealers. We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well. We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority.

Harley-Davidson is not the only company to have trouble with the rollout of its first electric vehicle this year. In June, Audi issued a recall of the E-Tron, its electric SUV, over concerns about battery fires (though none were reported). A few weeks later, Chinese EV startup NIO also recalled its first electric SUV after a few of the vehicles caught fire.